Just about bordering on odd, I see things through different eyes.The heading says it all - I live, I love, I craft, I am me...


April's link up Photo Scavenger Hunt!

If you have joined in with my

Scavenger hunt, please link

with me on your blog :)

Please add your name to the

link up tool below,

just follow the easy instructions,

don't worry - if I can do it so can you!

Please just add your Name or Blog Name in the 'Link Title',

Now, let the Link-up Party begin!

Don't forget to leave a comment when you visit :)

April's Scavenger Photo Hunt

Welcome to my April's Scavenger Photo Hunt! Enjoy xxx

Eldest and I a couple of weeks ago, built four new compost bins for the walled garden we volunteer at. The Rangers had kindly sourced all the pallets for us and delivered them to the garden. It was up to us (and a huge flask of coffee) to make four bins before the end of the day. We surprised and pleased ourselves when, by lunch, we had finished! We celebrated by chucking in a load of weeds (and finishing off the rest of the coffee!).

The next few images I managed to get during the course of one weekend walk.  

This rusty bucket we spotted was in a field of lambs which Himself cheerfully decreed to be full of 'lamb-mines'. The metal was so oxidised it was paper thin and dust brittle. Wonder how long it has remained there against the wall, forgotten.

When, on a walk, we stop for a tea break, we 'crack open' the flask and have a biscuit or two. It is rather nice, sitting in the sun, usually alongside a stream or with a view, contemplating life and selecting a biscuit from this lovely box. As soon as I pressed the shutter, Youngest opened the tin and shared a ginger biscuit with his favourite girl :)
Thank you Youngest and Moss for sitting patiently while I took my picture. 

We've done this for years .... not taken ready made packed lunches when we walk...... we take the ingredients - bread, cheese, salad, tomatoes, sometimes ham or fish for the carnivores or pescetarian. When we are hungry, we find a suitable stopping place and I make sandwiches as Himself makes tea or coffee, we then sit and happily munch.  Our walks are more than just being out and 'collecting the miles', it is more about the collecting of memories, views, good lunch spots and photographs ...... and if we get a load of 'miles under our boots' it adds to a truly good day out :)

Begins with ... D
When the list of words for the Scavenger Hunt is collated, I make sure that I do not select words for images I already have. 
I ask the boys, I gather from listening to the radio, sometimes randomly they appear in my head. So, during the same walk, when we passed by this gate, I'd not not even spotted it.  It was Eldest's sharp eyes that saw it and he called me back - thank goodness he noticed!

This photograph must rate as one from a particularly special walk. We were in Uist, our first day and we'd set off from the campsite to explore the surrounding coastline. All along the sandy track to the dunes was the machar (native wild flower verges) which were incredibly vibrant. Dotted along the way were gently decaying old farm machinery. The boys being boys, had to inspect and investigate each and every mechanical skeleton along the way. I didn't mind, it meant I could study the plants and flowers and listen to the bees and hoverflies. 

Something seasonal
Back to our weekend walk. We'd forded a little rocky stream which Moss wanted to play in so the boys obliged. While the antics of the dog amused them, I was occupied by the activities of a busy bumblebee (I think it is a field bumblebee) on an emerging butterbur spike.

Recently finished 
These are finally finally finally done. They have given me sleepless nights and stressful days. I will be glad when I hand them over to their owner (by the time this is posted, I will have done so and hopefully will be skipping with relief and delight when they have gone!)

Begins with ... R
One of the neighbours buys and sells chickens at the local agricultural auction marts. So our feathered neighbours change frequently. During winter we rarely see them but as the weather warms the birds are let out of their sheds and they hop up on the the boundary fence and look longingly at the green things that grow in our garden - They are regularly evicted back to their pens!  (This handsome chap I suspect is a Barnvelder).

My own choice
This walk yielded so many pictures for this month's list and 'My Own Choice' just had to be Youngest and these two. From a distance, we thought we were approaching a flock of sheep but as we neared, two small cream coloured creatures turned out to be ponies in 'sheeps clothing'!

See what I mean!

Now, I am off to check out other entries for the photo hunt, please do the same and don't forget to comment - we all love receiving them, they make our hearts go squeeee! (oh - is it just me then??!)


That mat monster .... reader beware ...

Dear reader,

do take heed of my warning, look away now if you are faint of heart and lacking in courage. Dear sweet soul, should you read further and feel you can go on no longer, remember my cautionary words, you have been forewarned ....

Exhibit 1

Small, worn but loved mat. 
It lives a quietly unassuming life stationed at the patio doors. The sun gently warms its weave and threads and life is good.  Until .....

Exhibit 2

Small, furry and loved cat.  
She lives life to the full, our house and home are hers. The sun gently warms her fur and charges her batteries and life is good. Until ....

Exhibit 3
Large and fearsome mat monster.
It rears it's ugly head threatening all who cross it's path. Rapier like claws slash and grab any passing innocent foot or hand.  No one is safe. Teenage feet are dangerous enough in their own right but the mat monster shows no fear and launches an alarming attack. Blood has been drawn and cursing has been heard. Leaping up of slashed feet have been seen running and hopping out of harms way.

Exhibit 4
Small, furry and extremely brave cat.
Shows no fear, shows no mercy. The mat monster is slain (several times a day) and the mat itself is given a good kicking just for harbouring such evil monsters beneath its apparently benign ruggedness. Small cat magically transforms from a domestic purry-thing with grass green eyes and mackerel stripes to an ethereal mythical beast-creature with flashing eyes and flaming breath and dagger like claws the size of huge scimitar blades.  She has battled evil monsters for time immemorable. The vanquished mat monster is made to slink off, licking its mortal wounds.

Small cat - guardian of our sanctuary, our home, saviour of this motley crew of the human race, we salute you and your bravado - we are your servants.....

Errr, have your finished? I'd like to straighten the mat now thank you....


A host of little stars and other random similes

When, sitting here at my desk, it is a grey and wet day out there, I am grateful that I have been out and about during the weekend where I feasted my eyes and stilled my butterfly brain.

Walking is more than exercise, more than exploring, it is a form of meditation, a way of connecting to the earth and with myself and removing all sorts of negative thoughts and feelings. It is almost as if I have been made whole again and it keeps me sane for the rest of the week.

Our originally planned walk was soon rejected when Himself realised how busy the area was going to be, there were so many people about. There was even a bike event which seemed to be mainly filled by ill equipped amateurs struggling with not only the wrong sized bikes or being poorly dressed - one bloke was wearing jeans, but also having to contend with their apparent unfit states and horrendous and impatient traffic.  The route, to us, seemed far too dangerous for non-regular road cyclists and drivers appeared ignorant of the space needed by the flapping kneed red faced cyclists.

Himself knows the lanes and byways around us like the back of his hand and he soon had us far far away from the madding crowd. To a gloriously isolated high moorland. All we could hear and see were the skylarks, lapwings and curlews, their song filling the skies. The breeze was not cool enough to chill us but enough to make my hair lift and waft around my face. The grasses gently nodded while we could just make out the occasional sheep baaing in the distance. It seemed so vast and peaceful.

Still nursing my damaged knee I set off after my three who were being led by an eager dog. Moss wanted to race ahead and run run run run but seeing the sheep in the oncoming field she had to wear her harness and lead which she accepted with a resigned look in her eyes. Moss is afraid of sheep, however she still takes on the posture of a working dog and it frightens the ewes. So, harnessed and on her lead we can walk through fields dotted with 'lamb-mines' and ewes and only cause moderate interest.

Small wild riverine areas filled with celandine looking like fields of little gold stars, I could not walk in a straight line for fear of standing on the brightly coloured flowers. We stopped by a small tumbling farm brook, filled in equal measures with posts, rocks, wire, fish and pebbles. There was evidence of flash flooding in the past with the fencing serenely floating in the water while the bank, where the fence should have been, was eroded and undercut.

Further on, lunch was eaten in glorious sunshine, warming my bones and replenishing my sunshine quota - wonderful. As the boys investigated the shale exposed by the river for fossils and Moss happily splashed in the water, I pulled my knitting out from my bag and quietly completed a row or two. Slow but satisfying progress.

We walked along tracks and through fields. Our path took us alongside millstone grit and limestone and it was interesting to see how the plants and grasses altered when their roots grew in the different soils. The breeze became more lively as our path took us upwards back on to the wild and windy moorland hill. The clouds began to cluster and soon the brilliant blue skies and warm sun were no longer. 

By the time we returned to the car, our faces and fingers felt brittle and cold and my knee had had enough. We were definitely ready to sit inside the car away from the chilling buffeting wind.

It was good to have got out and breathed in the air, felt the sky, sat in the fields, watch the scudding clouds and walked until I was tired.

Now, home, strengthened by the walk, by the sky, the bird song and the air, I feel ready to paint. Bring it on :)

I have a second blog - one I run purely for my art - 
please pop over and see what you think :) Comments are most welcome.


I can hear the cogs as I speak

I wonder what goes through our dog's head.  What thought processes occur? If any.  Does she think in the same sense as we do?

Yesterday, in the wonderful sunshine she sat and watched Eldest. Her deep chocolate brown eyes thoughtfully (or as Himself muttered ... 'vacantly') taking in the view. She observed the ducks in the pond, watched other dogs playing or barking and listened to people as they laughed or spoke. She seemed to be very aware of what was going on and had such a thoughtful face...... or am I reading too much into that furrowed brow above the small space that may, or may not, house a peanut sized brain (I am quoting Himself again). 

I suspect that, no - I know she is a thinker ... she over-thinks and tries to second guess, tries to impress, tries to preempt your command. She worries that she is not pleasing us, worries she is in trouble, worries about a lot. 

So to see her sitting, in the sunshine, smiling and thinking and watching made my heart swell. 

Nope - she was just waiting for her ball to be retrieved so the game could continue.


Good bye March - Hello April!

Friday, 31st March dawned a little grey but by the time I roused Eldest from his slumbers and drunk my coffee, the sun was out and the day had turned from a pale silver to a wonderful blue. I lingered outside, nursing a fresh mug, quietly wandering through the garden taking pictures of anything that was in flower.
Snakeshead fritillary, hyacinth (last year's indoor festive bulbs) 
Ornamental Comfrey, Drumstick primula.

 I was pleasantly surprised at how many shoots and flowers were out and about. It really gladdened my sunshine-deficient soul!
Hosta shoots, primula, Snakeshead fritillary, daffodils.

Eldest and I lingered in the larger potage when I noticed an unwelcome visitor. A rather fat yet obviously hungry wood pigeon. It seemed to me it was doing a preliminary exploration of a future dinner date with my seedlings! We very quickly stretched out two lengths of netting to keep off our greedy feathered friend.

I just love that earthy damp smell the greenhouse exudes once it has been watered. 

Red sunflower, rhubarb, lettuce seedling forest,
Swiss chard, Spinach, Rye grass (cat grass)

The more sharp eyed of you will notice a rather densely packed cluster of seedlings ... I had carefully dropped two lettuce seeds into each module, covered them over and watered them. As I lifted the tray up two small but significant events occurred. One of the modules, which must have already a split in it, collapsed losing the soil to the floor.  I tried to grab the spoils only to knock the rest of the seeds into the seed tray. Sigh. Ten days later - a small forest of lettuce appeared.

So, today I carefully lifted the clump of lettuce seedlings, soaked them in water until all the potting soil had washed off the tiny tiny roots, split the seedlings a carefully as I could and planted as many as possible. We'll see how many survive.

Ah, Pepper - she's found the rye grass, there's not much left....

Any hoo - that is March done and dusted,
bring on APRIL!

This month's Scavenger Hunt words can be found up on the right hand side of my blog.

  1. New
  2. Rust
  3. Box
  4. Ingredients
  5. Begins with ... D
  6. Mechanical
  7. Something seasonal
  8. Recently finished 
  9. Begins with ... R
  10. My own choice

Please don't be intimidated by this list - it is not as scary as first impressions,
just enjoy the hunt and remember it does not matter what YOUR interpretations are. 
This is the best part - reading your words and seeing your photos, 
enjoying the stories you weave and the images you share.
You ALL have such a wealth of words and ideas.

I will post a reminder in a week or so - any queries, just get in contact :)

Remember to think laterally, interpret as YOU fancy,
be it a current photo or a favourite one from your past. 
We'll reconvene and post our words and photos on Friday 28th April.


Potager update

Last weekend had the most delicious sunshine which made for an amazing change from the usual weekend weather.

So in between ferrying various sons here, there and everywhere, Himself and I continued to work in the garden. The large potager now has a number of the new beds filled with the most yumpcious home grown compost - as a result of more luck than good garden husbandry I have to add.

The smaller potager - which I have ear marked as the 'Saladary' is now in action as Youngest and I have sown radish and various salad crops (hence the name).

As usual the weekend evaporated with indecent haste - and as I have twisted my knee - gardening has been put on hold (temporarily) while my knee starts to feel well again. Any hoo - that's what happens when you are a stampcrab*!

*Isn't that a wonderful word? I learnt it on Monday and it means heavy footed or clumsy.

Post script...
A day or two has passed since I wrote this post and my knee is behaving surprisingly well, well enough to do a little bit of tentative gardening and to be able to return to volunteering at the walled garden on Thursday - I am so looking forward to being out there again :)
Add caption
I am keeping a record of all the goings on in the two Potagers  on The Potager gardens 2017 page.


Round up :)

Happy Monday!

Morning :) What a difference a few days of sunshine makes to a northern dwelling southerner!

Woah! What beautiful photographs and excellent stories were shared in our Scavenger Photo Hunt - well done, there was so many lovely little vignettes and memories from everyone. Definitely worth visiting if you missed reading them.

Lovely Lady certainly had a crafting and chickens theme running through her photos, while Jak of Jak's Tales had lovely memories and stories from Africa.

Susan of GRANNY SMITH'S QUILTING, despite mentioning she thought that this month's selection was hard, came up with a lovely narrative of home and outings both here in the UK and Australia. Jill at the Land of the Big Sky did her best to join in but was too poorly - hope you feel better soon Jill :)

Julie - from Julie's Scrapbook hosts a link-up of her own every December which Jak, Susan and I joined in - they are good incentive to see things differently. You should check out her first and last photos (of a jug of flowers).

Lisa N, from Needles and Wool joined us for the first time and cleverly used the list of words to introduce herself, while Jules from  A Hidden Jem used the list to create an entire story of a walk with her daughter - I think she did this incredibly well and really enjoyed reading her post.

Wildaboutworld, who has joined in before (sporadically! - I know she won't mind me saying that!!) came back with a flourish and shared some excellent photos, in particular the most beautiful scarecrow I have ever seen.

Last but certainly not least - J from Simple Natural Handmade displayed her photos in a montage using her new macro lens and a new app on her iPad and I think she nailed it! Nice one.

Things that I have learnt this month - blue seems to be a favourite colour, The dancing scarecrow proved to be very popular and we all have family favourite recipes that are worth sharing.

Thank you everyone who was involved, I shall  be posting April's list soon - until then...

...have lovely week!


March Scavenger photo hunt

A beautiful vibrant bunch from my dear Himself for Valentine's day.
He has never missed a year since we first met.
Never, ever.

Baking or cooking
Leek and Potato Soup - thick rings of freshly washed leeks.
My favourite recipe at the end of the post***.

A couple of years ago, I bravely set off sans Himself
and took the boys to Galloway for a week.
We visited Wigtown, sadly not during the book festival
which had concluded the day before we arrived.
However, we feasted our eyes and senses by visiting all the bookshops
carefully lifting, sniffing, feeling the books.
Delighting in the quotes and the quirks
finally retiring in a bookshop that served delicious hot chocolate
with a side dish of the written word,

We have two cats, each a 'little purrson' in their own right.
Pepper is effusive, enthusiastic, a bossy team player,
a leader, a supervisor, is vocal, demanding and insistent.
And then there is Pan.
A quiet, determined, independent and shy princess.
We hold our breath if she chooses to sit on our lap,
we tell each other if we've been allowed to stroke her,
so when, be still my beating heart,
my dear Pan decides to sleep near my desk while I paint,
I take a photo - because I don't know when 
I will next be blessed by her company.

Favourite Colour
...Is not pink...

Eldest reached his 19th milestone in March,
19 years ago we lived in Africa,
19 years ago, we lived on an avocado and guava farm,
19 years ago I gardened carefully to avoid snakes,
19 years ago I had a small blonde baby
who now is tall and serious and amazing.

You know when you are out and about, 
looking out of the car window,
rain streaked and misty.
Your eyes drag across the passing scenery,
seeing yet not seeing.
Then suddenly something catches your gaze,
grabs your attention,
forces you to screech 
and demand a stop.
(This usually startles Himself to do the perfect emergency stop ...)
Then, a sweet smile and an innocent request
to reverse .....
so you can take a photograph
of a pig with a hat......

Our walks, pre-dog, usually had some mud involved.
Now, with dog, mud is guaranteed.
Even a simple constitutional walk
now has mud as an integral ingredient....

Favourite mug or cup and saucer
Not one that I use often during winter,
it tends not to keep my drink warm.
I prefer using it in summer when herbal infusions
are fine
hot or cold
and look a lot prettier
in this.
No, during winter,
give me chunky thick mugs
built to last
built to hold gallons
of steaming hot tea!

My own choice
In the small town of Coldstream, Scotland,
 we had driven around the back of the town centre,
looking for parking. 
Having found a quiet little road, lined by quaint shops, 
we chose to potter around this un-touristy area
rather than the more populated and visitor-centric main street.
We visited a lovely little museum,
topsy-turvy charity shops,
a dusty bookshop,
walked passed traditional houses
and a vernacular pub.
A little further along, we discovered a small park 
with a narrow but vigorous stream gurgling through it.
On the bridge, this sign.
Not 100 metres from said pub!

***Leek and Potato Soup
Gently heat oil in heavy based pan, add a chopped onion, 225gms of chopped potatoes, I leave the skins on and  3 medium leeks - washed and chopped.
Cook for 3 - 4 minutes until everything starts to soften and look glossy.
Add about a litre of vegetable stock and bring to the boil.
Season and simmer until all the vegetables are tender.
Removed from heat, cool slightly and whizzzzzzz until as smooth as you like, gently re-warm. Check seasoning and add if you need to.

Serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread and a flourish of coarsely ground black pepper - yum yum yum.